What is Relationship Management?

At the Prospect Research Institute, we are turning our focus right now to developing new educational materials for the Relationship Management learning domain. Starting at the very  beginning we wanted to define some key terms for our classroom glossary. Looking online for material created by experts we came up with the terms and definitions below.

Truth be told, there isn’t a whole lot of material out there on relationship management to draw from.  Most of it appears to be scattered among short blog posts and PowerPoint slides.

That’s why we are asking all of YOU Relationship and Prospect Management experts out there to chime in. Your specialty is often overlooked and yet it’s critical to fundraising success. I know you have a lot of #ResearchPride in your work!

Do you have better definitions? Recommend any additions, corrections, or other tweaks? Please comment!

Customer Relationship Management

“Customer relationship management (CRM) refers to the principles, practices and guidelines that an organization follows when interacting with its customers. From the organization’s point of view, this entire relationship encompasses direct interactions with customers, such as sales and service-related processes, and forecasting and analysis of customer trends and behaviors. Ultimately, CRM serves to enhance the customer’s overall experience.”

“What is ‘Customer Relationship Management – CRM’”. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/customer_relation_management.asp. Retrieved 6 Jul 2017.

Donor Relationship Management

“Donor relationship management is the process of thoughtfully and proactively cultivating relationships with new donors and stewarding current donors in order to maximize donor retention, engagement and investment.”

Bridgespan Group, The. “Donor Relationship Management”. https://www.bridgespan.org/insights/library/nonprofit-management-tools-and-trends/donor-relationship-management. Retrieved 6 Jul 2017.

Note: This is a direct translation from the business world to the nonprofit world: Customer Relationship Management to Donor Relationship Management. See Relationship Management

Relationship Management

See Donor Relationship Management.

Prospect Management

“Prospect management is the planning, recording, and reporting of significant moments in the relationship between prospective donors and the nonprofit organization which lead to a gift.… Such a system is primarily concerned with gift expectancies.”

Lamb, David F. “The Basics of Prospect Management”.  https://www.blackbaud.com/files/resources/downloads/WhitePaper_TheBasicsOfProspectManagment.pdf. Retrieved 6 Jul 2017.

Moves Management

“David Dunlop, Senior Development Officer at Cornell University, came up with a concept called Moves Management. He defines Moves Management as a strategy of changing people’s attitudes so they want to give.”

InfoNonprofit.org. “Moves Management: Are You Focusing on Donors or Donations?”. https://infononprofit.org/2016/06/25/moves-management-are-you-focusing-on-donors-or-donations. Retrieved on 6 Jul 2017.


2 thoughts on “What is Relationship Management?

  1. I agree with your definitions. What’s interesting is that all of these types of management are designed to move the relationship with the prospect through the stages of engaged, participating, and then investing.

    It’s interesting that David Dunlop’s teaching has become the domain only of Major Gifts.

    Relationship Management to me is the art of building a deepening relationship with a person, one at a time, through increasingly involved calls to action that leads the person to a state of investment in the non-profit.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I’m fascinated by the “one at a time” aspect of relationship management as it has been discussed in the fundraising field and the seeming limitation to major gifts.

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